KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Elections
ACCORD, in association with NPI-Africa & WANEP
Political violence in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has claimed the lives of as many as 20,000 people since 1984. More than half of these deaths occurred after 1990, that is after the unbanning of liberation movements.
The three month period that preceded the first democratic election in 1994 saw the death of 1,000 people and between 1994 and 2000 a further 2,000 people were killed. Indeed, the 1994 provincial elections in KwaZulu-Natal were described as, “the most serious instance of political obstruction of free electioneering”. Election campaigning in 1999, although recording less violence, was still plagued by the advent of party strongholds and no-go areas affecting free and fair campaigning. The 2004 provincial election did not present significant challenges to free electioneering but still recorded various hot spots for election related violence and intimidation.
The AfAP Observer Mission
Arising out of a special sitting of the KZN Legislature on 24 February 2009, to examine the issue of political intolerance in the province, supported by all parties represented in the legislature, as well as those who are not represented in the legislature, ACCORD has undertaken to contribute towards creating a climate for peaceful, free and fair elections. As a result, ACCORD in collaboration with its AfAP partners, the Nairobi Peace Initiative-Africa (NPI-Africa) and the West Africa Network for Peace (WANEP), will be deploying an international team of African observers drawn from across the continent to observe the elections in KwaZulu Natal. The observer mission is staffed by delegates from the African continent who are experts in the fields of conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
The AfAP Election Observer Mission aims to observe and record levels of political intolerance and violence in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, over the period of 18 to 24 April 2009. It will do so by observing and monitoring voting stations in districts of the province historically plagued by violence and currently identified as ‘hot spots’ for potential violence. The mandate of the mission is to observe (note what is happening) the levels of violence and intolerance. Furthermore, the mission is mandated to monitor (solicit information relating to its observations) the levels of violence and intolerance.